Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow's cause. Isaiah 1:17
Isaiah teaches that doing good is to seek justice and correct oppression. He gets specific by identifying two vulnerable groups who would receive the benefits of that activity; the fatherless and the widow. This edition of the Global Voice focuses on how our organization is doing good, biblically, for the widows in our neighborhood.
In a letter that Paul the Apostle wrote to one of his leaders, Timothy, he refers to a list of widows that the local community was responsible for. They were to ensure that the widows’ social and emotional needs were being met. The Apostle sets out criteria to identify the most vulnerable widows, considering the limited resources of the community, so they could prioritize their energies on those widows most in need (1 Tim 5:3-16).
Adopting this model and the criteria laid out by Paul the Apostle, our organization has implemented a program to care for the widows in the neighborhood of Hopewell. This is the same model we are implementing abroad.
Since January of this year (2014), a group of students from a class I taught called “Widow and Orphan Care” have been making this program happen. They have trained intake counselors and social work advocates, and even created committees for health care advocacy, building improvement, nutrition, wellness, and appropriate social activities. The program is moving into full swing this month, as much of the effort has required research to identify the most vulnerable women, for whom our energy and resources could be most effectively spent.
Healthcare advocacy includes connecting the widows with government services available to them, helping them out with all the necessary paperwork for those services, providing transportation and company for doctor visits, accountability for whatever health regimen is prescribed, and free, occasional visits by our organization’s nurses and Family Nurse Practitioner.
Building Improvement includes the routine tasks of cleaning out gutters, landscaping and yard work, but also those improvements needed internally, even to make life a bit easier, like the installation of a dishwasher, or a garbage disposal. In this neighborhood, we will likely have to install windows, replace roofs, and even repair major damage in the walls or floors.
Nutrition and Wellness Assistance provides accountability and education to implement those disciplines necessary to sustain good health. Assistance with cooking, provision of fresh vegetables from our community garden, one-on-one health trainers for physical therapy, and massage therapy are some of the services provided.
Appropriate Social Activities come in a variety of forms, but most directly, the purpose is to connect the widow to a human network where she can enjoy the presence of other people, ranging from children to her age-mates. A widow may participate as a teacher’s aide at our elementary school, or she may help serve lunch at our college, or she may have a small group come to her house for a game of Yahtzee! The point is that she would get healthy, human fellowship.
I hope the implementation of this model in our neighborhood can inspire other groups of believers to also take care of the widows in their neighborhood. Sometimes we get confused as to who we’re responsible for. You can’t be responsible for my neighborhood. I am, we are. Vice versa. If everyone understands this, then we will all take responsibility and figure out a way to “do good” with those who are in need, in our own proximity. Be inspired today to do good, to seek justice and correct oppression!
Thanks for reading and God bless you all!